Matthew 22:15-22 (Tribute to Caesar 2: The Plot Thickens)

Was it the Pharisees who plotted against Jesus who also confronted Him with their question about paying tribute to Caesar?  See Mat 22:16.  Why did they send their disciples instead of asking Him themselves?  See Mat 22:15,16b and consider that they themselves were likely already known to Him, perhaps from their earlier confrontation inquiring about His authority (Mat 21:23,45-46), so that they knew He would be on guard against them; thus to catch Him off guard for their trap they needed to send someone else who could present to Him more of an appearance of sincerity.  What does such action indicate about the urgency with which they were pitting themselves against Jesus, and again the premeditated intent with which they were attempting to do so?  Cf. Joh 11:47-53.  What does their purposeful determination to get rid of Jesus indicate about the fear of Him they must have felt?  Was it really only their fear of the Romans that was inciting them against Him?  See Mat 27:18 and cf. Joh 3:19-21,.  What does this remind us about the real threat that true godliness has always posed to worldly religion, and why religion itself is often the greatest persecutor of the righteous?  Cf. Gen 4:3-8, 1Jo 3:11-12, Mat 23:29-36, Act 7:51-53, Phil 3:18-19.  What does this also teach us about why those who are truly holy can never escape even by their innocence and righteousness the hatred of those who are evil?

How does Luke describe the plotting of the religious leaders to trap Jesus?  See Luk 20:19-20.  From his words should we suppose that it was only the Pharisees who were in on the plot to ensnare Him?  Cf. Mar 12:12-13. What does Luke call those whom they sent?  See Luk 20:20, and note that “spy” refers to one who secretly lies in wait for an opportunity to catch someone in something he says that can be used against him.  In what way do such “spies” sent by the god of this age surround the righteous today, as they always have, looking for whatever opportunity may present itself to seize upon something they might say that can be used to besmirch both them and Him whom they serve?  What does this remind us about why it is important to always guard what we say and do so as to give the devil no opportunity against us?  Is one who is not sincere in his heart able to do this?  What then does this also remind us about the importance of having a sincere faith and serving the Lord in true heart righteousness?

Why does Luke say in Luk 20:20 that the religious leaders were trying to catch Jesus in some statement?  Cf. Mar 14:55-59.  Why was it important that they have something against Jesus that would allow them to deliver Him up to the rule and authority of the governor?  See Joh 18:31; cf. Act 18:15, 25:18-20.  What does this indicate about the nature of the statement they were seeking to catch Him in and why they posed the question they did in regard to paying taxes?  What does it also again indicate about the extent and premeditated nature of the crime they were committing?  Although they justified their actions to themselves as expedient for the good of the nation, in the day of justice in God’s court of law where the Lord brings to light the things hidden in the darkness and discloses the motives of men’s hearts, how will such arguments hold up?  See Mat 23:33.  What ought such a realization lead us to do?  See 2Co 7:1.

With whom did the Pharisees send their disciples?  See Mat 22:16.  Who does their name indicate that they were supporters of?  Considering that the Herods were largely despised by the Jews as the puppet government through whom Rome ruled over them, why would the Pharisees who were the most orthodox of the Jewish sects have allied themselves with them against Jesus?  Cf. Mar 3:6, 8:15.  In what way does religion today also ally itself to worldly political parties in order to accomplish more expediently what it perceives to be God’s will?  Again, what does this example of the Pharisees teach us about the great danger of partnering with the world for the sake of expedience?  Cf. 2Co 6:14-7:1 and think: for what purposes of their own are the political parties of the world willing to partner with religion, and are those purposes actually God’s?  Cf. Rev 17:1-2, 18:3.  As opposed to the common Jews who were suffering under the hand of Rome, how would the Herodians who benefited from Rome’s rule have felt about paying taxes to Caesar?  What does this help us understand about why the Pharisees sent their disciples along with them to try and trap Jesus?

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